New Zealand's Workers' Compensation: How Will it Fare in a Changing Environment?
The Woodhouse Report and the subsequent 1972 Accident Compensation Act was revolutionary. The right to sue to recover compensatory damages arising directly or indirectly out of personal injury was abolished, although there was still the provision to take an action for damages in a court outside of New Zealand. Since then, workers’ compensation in New Zealand has evolved and metamorphosed into our current scheme. However, the effectiveness of workers' compensation schemes in terms providing protecting injured workers and their dependents has been eroded over the years. This paper not only provides a brief background to the current system but also explores the notion that if the current workers’ compensation scheme is failing New Zealand workers, perhaps it is time to look at other alternatives. In particular, the tort system of law may afford workers fairer compensation and may spur employers to provide healthy and safe working environments.
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